Charleston, South Carolina – Just when hospitals across the country are once again under pressure from the Omicron wave of the Covid-19, hospitals face major staffing shortage causing them a lot of issue to properly operate during these difficult times.
According to betternurse.org, a career advancement and community network, there is rising trend in nurses leaving hospitals recently mostly because of nurse stress when the country faces yet another surge in Covid-19 patients. This trend increases the demand for travel nurses.
“The demand for travel nursing has been steady for the last couple years, but just really in the past, like couple months, we’ve seen that just exponentially grow, like 200% over where we were last year,” says Chris Apline, Head of Product at Better Nurse.
Apline also confirmed that the major reason why nurses are leaving their jobs is the increasing nurse stress they face as a result of Omicron wave.
“A lot of that is attributed to just the burnout all across the country from two years of dealing with the pandemic and all of those effects of it, because it’s not just like the COVID ward nurses who have to struggle through that, it’s everyone in the hospital and that has just played out with the demand for nursing everywhere.”
ABC News 4 talked with Payne Solomon, a travel nurse who recently resides in San Diego.
According to Solomon, he has been filling gaps for sometime now and he is ready to take any challenge he is asked to.
“Like if they need me to get tripled and take three patients, I’ll do it. If they needed me to take a sick patient and no one else is familiar with, then I’ll do that. If they need me to float to a different floor, I’ll do that. We’re really there to fill spots, to help people out,” says Solomon.
Travel nurses have become even more popular with the start of the pandemic since in many occasions, hospitals in different areas of the country faced staffing shortages at some point and they had no other options left, but to rely on travel nurses.
Because of the growing demand, there are many different incentives to becoming a travel nurse currently.
“Their pay is significantly increased. I mean, we saw a job in Dallas that was paying like $8,000 a week, which is, you know, four or five times what they usually would make in that time span. So travel nursing usually does pay more than a staffing nurse would be, but it’s blown out of proportion,” says Apline.
Some of the Lowcountry hospitals are also using travel nurses. Since the start of the year, some of them have fewer travel nurses, while some have more.
Roper is using travel nurses, but very few compared to last year. MUSC is seeing a higher number of travel nurses. They currently have 106 RN travelers. Meanwhile, Trident says they are also using travelers, but did not offer specifics on how many.
Travel nurses offers differ from one another. Moving is not covered in the offers, but some of the hospitals provide housing in an effort to make their offers more attractive.
The majority of states, including South Carolina, are compact licensing states, meaning nurses in those states can apply for multi-state licenses and work in any compact license state.